Cavities are very common. Almost 60% of 12-19 year olds have or have had a cavity. Although cavities are largely preventable, 96% of adults have a history of cavities.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is simply a hole. Holes are formed because of acid erosion - which we talked about in a previous post. These holes aren’t always in spaces that are visible to us, and may even be small enough that we can’t see them when we are looking at our own teeth in the mirror. Cavities are very common. Almost 60% of 12-19 year olds have or have had a cavity. Although cavities are largely preventable, 96% of adults have a history of cavities.
What’s the problem with having a hole in my tooth?
The big issue with having a cavity is that food particles and bacteria get stuck inside them. It’s the perfect spot to host a party for all those little monsters in your mouth. This will make the hole bigger and deeper, damaging more and more of the tooth. A small problem can become a big (and painful) problem quickly.
Okay, I don’t want that to happen! How to I stop the party in my cavity?
Get a filling done by your dentist. A filling is a material that is put into the cleaned out cavity so that bacteria and food particles can’t get in there, stopping the bacteria party from continuing and any more damage from being done.
So then I’m fixed? All is good?
One filling doesn’t protect all your teeth! It is important to maintain a good oral care routine to prevent further cavities from forming. It is also important to note that just like with any surgery or medical procedure, there is a chance that it may not stick. Your tooth can reject the material in the filling, for example. Your dentist will be able to inform you of all the risks before your procedure begins. It is important to keep up with regular oral hygiene appointments to make sure you aren’t developing any more cavities, and to ensure your fillings remain in good condition so they can do their job.
But what if I just don’t get a filling?
Putting your oral health on the back burner… isn’t suggested by your oral health care professionals. We know that oral health care procedures can be a huge financial setback for a lot of Calgarians. You are putting yourself as risk for an even bigger problem down the road (it may not even be that far down the road!).
Abscesses can form because of infection in a cavity, which can impact your overall health and cause bone loss in your jaw. Cavities can become so deep they expose the sensitive layers of your tooth and even the nerve - ouch!! If your cavity gets to this point, the tooth may not be able to be saved. You dentist will have to perform a root canal, and possible put a crown on the tooth. This will end up being much worse for your bank account, and much more painful than stopping the cavity in its tracks with a filling.
We have a financing program available to our patients, and also have a new cavity management program. Learn more about the cavity management program by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So what do me and my hygienist do to prevent these holes from forming in the first place?
Brush for at least two minutes a day with a re-mineralizing toothpaste and floss your teeth regularly! Brushing with a remineralizing toothpaste (contains fluoride, for example) is important to keep the enamel of your tooth strong and healthy. Be careful when it comes to abrasive toothpastes! Flossing disrupts the bacteria on the surface of the tooth at the gumline and between the teeth in those hard to reach spots. This will stop acid erosion, dramatically lowering you chances of getting a cavity.
Seeing a dental hygienist for a cleaning every 6 months is the next step to preventing cavities. Your dental hygienist will clean any build up of tartar and plaque from your teeth, which cause cavities by trapping bacteria against the tooth’s surface. They will also check using a visual exam or x-rays to see if there is any sign of a cavity forming. Catching cavities as early as possible causes the least amount of problems (for you and your bank account). You can also discuss getting sealants put on your teeth with your dental hygienist. Sealants seal up the surface of your tooth so that bacteria and food can’t stick directly to your tooh.
Think you might be at risk?
Book an appointment to get a cleaning and x-rays with your dental hygienist or dentist! You can book one at Citizen Dental Hygiene here, or call us 403-457-0250. Questions? Never hesitate to e-mail us: email@example.com.